The world was treated to a riveting match between Manchester City and Chelsea this afternoon, with the two teams playing to a 1-1 stalemate at Stamford Bridge. City did a great job of responding to Chelsea's opening goal when they could have folded and put themselves at a tremendous disadvantage in the title race.
So what did we learn in today's match, which was one of the most thrilling 1-1 draws in recent memory? Well, we learned a lot.
1. The Title Race Isn't Over!
Technically, the title race wouldn't have been over even if Chelsea had won today's match, but City's chances to repeat as Premier League champions sure would have felt over had they fallen today. While only securing one point wasn't the optimal result, it was encouraging to see City look dangerous without Yaya Toure, something that has to encourage City supporters with so many matches left to play.
And while we're here, it was a bit frustrating to hear the United States television coverage repeatedly suggest that City needed to chase the game. A match of this magnitude in the Premier League doesn't need to be sold to its audience, and for today's broadcast team to have thought differently was disappointing. Nobody needs to chase anything with 15 matches left in the season.
2. Fernandinho Is A Brick Wall Dressed In Sky Blue
In City's back to back losses to Arsenal and Middlesbrough, City's back line and central midfielders were weakest links in a chain composed entirely of weak links. Compare that to today's performance by Fernandinho, who looked positively Toure-esque in the way he held up play in the center of the pitch. His seven tackles were tied for most of any City player in the match, some of which helped to control Eden Hazard more than most teams are able to.
In addition to the immediate benefits of Fernandinho's sure tackling today, his solid play made things easier on City's beleaguered back four. Outside of Chelsea's goal, which was a beautiful passing display by the league leaders, Chelsea were largely toothless going forward. While some of that is a product of Chelsea sitting back for much of the second half, it was also a result of some great play from City's midfielders.
Against a midfield as talented as Chelsea's, a performance such as Fernandinho's was essential, and he delivered it with aplomb.
3. Jose Mourinho Is Still A Jerk
While this is something we learned well before this afternoon, Jose Mourinho reminded us all that he's a huge jerk again today in a multitude of ways. Whether it was pulling referees aside to complain about officiating, or by refusing to speak to the media, it was a vintage performance from the so-called Special One today. At least Marshawn Lynch shows up to his press conferences, even if it's just to let everyone know that he's only there to avoid a fine.